HOPE MILLS — The saying offense wins games but defense wins championships rang true for the Fighting Scots on Friday night. The Scots offense rallied in the second half to upend Jack Britt, 36-6 — but once again it was the Scots defense that put on a show for fans.
Scotland head coach Richard Bailey admitted his defense should have had a third shut out, but a bad snap on a punt set Jack Britt up inside the 10-yard line for their only touchdown of the game.
“Defensively we should have had another shut out,” said Bailey. “Our defensive has carried us all year and just another great effort by them.”
Defensive backs coach Cory Johnson is one of the most vocal coaches on the sidelines — but when asked about his defense only had one thing to say.
“I am blessed to coach a very talented group of athletes and I have some of the best coaches in North Carolina behind me,” said Johnson.
Johnson and Scots defense prefer to let their performance on the field speak for itself — and it certainly did.
The Scots defense thus far has only allowed 13 points in the team’s four games and has held all of its opponents to under 300 total yards of offense.
On the offensive side of the ball the Scots still managed to score 36 points — 28 of which came in the second half.
The Scots only first half touchdown came on a quarterback keeper from Sergio Gibson — who bobbed and weaved his way from the 35-yard line into the end zone. The Scots quarterback kept the ball for the two-point conversion to put his team up, 8-0.
Penalties and missed opportunities stalled the rest of the Scots first half drives. Just before haltime, Scots defensive back Donta Green — returning from a concussion after missing two games — picked off Jack Britt quarterback Kennique Bonner-Steward at the 16-yard line. With blockers in front of him, Green made his way to the Jack Britt 20-yard line.
The Scots had Nautica in the end zone on a pass from Zamir White, but the pass fell incomplete. A penalty pushed the Scots back and an incomplete pass from Gibson to Syheam McQueen allowed Jack Britt to took over on downs.
Bailey said the Scots didn’t make too many adjustments offensively at halftime, and admitted the offense takes a while to get its engine warmed up.
“I thought we got a little more determined (in the second half). I think we wore them down late in the game,” he said. “We get a little better as the game goes on — we sort of wear on teams. We have a lot of size, our backs are physical and people get tired of tackling them. The offensive line in the second half stayed with their blocks a little longer.”
Jack Britt’s only touchdown came halfway through the third quarter, but an unsuccessful two-point conversion they still trailed Scotland, 8-6.
The Scots touchdowns started coming after White finally broke free on a third and goal from the 3-yard line. The point after was successful and put the Scots up 15-6.
White found the end zone a second time off a 20-yard run. The junior running back looked more comfortable in the second half after returning from an injury that sidelined him the past two weeks.
“I thought Zamir ran hard,” said Bailey. “He might have been feeling is way a little bit coming off an injury, but I thought he ran fine. We weren’t blocking as well as we needed to and we were missing some assignments. I think once he got the feel of it and got going he was fine.”
The fourth quarter started with a breakaway run from Gibson that set up a touchdown from McQueen off a wildcat snap. The extra point was good giving the Scots a 29-6 lead.
Running back Markel White rounded out the Scots scoring with a one-yard touchdown with just under a minute left in the game to put the Scots up 36-6.
The Scots are back in Pate Stadium next week as they host New Hanover.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.